(photo credit: COURTESY THE FAMILY)
The Nazareth District Court on Wednesday convicted Hussein Yussuf Hasin Halifa of murdering Afula woman Shelly Dadon last year and sentenced him to life in prison.
The court also ordered him to pay NIS 258,000 as a compensatory fine to each of Dadon’s parents.
Halifa eventually confessed to the murder, and then later tried to retract his confession.
He still denied being the murderer in court on Wednesday.
His lawyers had argued that Halifa admitted to the murder of 19-year-old Dadon under duress that included abuse and sleep deprivation, but the court convicted him anyway on several grounds, including finding his DNA on Dadon’s nails.
The court wrote that it was “totally and completely clear that the accused before us was the murderer.”
Dadon disappeared while on her way to a job interview in Migdal Ha’emek on May 1, 2014. On June 16 of that year the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested Halifa, a taxi driver from Ibillin in the Galilee.
Halifa picked up Dadon on the way to the interview and took her to a deserted parking lot, where he stabbed her to death, leaving wounds across her entire body. He then washed his taxi in a failed attempt to get rid of evidence linking him to the crime, and ditched Dadon’s wallet in the Beduin village of Beit Zarzir, where it was found by local youths.
Since Dadon was killed, the police and the Shin Bet said it was most likely a terrorist attack, even as the prosecution filed the indictment without noting any nationalistic motive, implying that the murder was criminal in nature.
After the killing, relatives of Dadon and residents of Afula held protests in the city, calling on the police to find the killer and for Israel to end the practice of releasing convicted murderers in agreements with the Palestinians.
After hearing the sentence, Dadon’s parents, Yaakov and Elana, continued to maintain Halifa had murdered her “because she was a Jew.”Ben Hartman contributed to this story.